Maruti Suzuki India, the country’s passenger vehicle market leader, which like other carmakers has been substantially impacted by the ongoing slowdown, is looking to inject some freshness into its entry-level cars and also rev up sales. The recently launched S-Presso, an SUV-inspired hatchback priced in the Rs 369,000 to Rs 491,000 price bracket, is its weapon of choice. Our cover story reveals the company’s product strategy as well as the marketing game-plan. Considering that the company has received over 10,000 bookings within 10 days of launch, it looks like the plan is working.
Meanwhile, in more hatchback news, Hyundai Motor India is betting on the Grand i10 Nios and that too in diesel avatar, at a time when diesel is going out of fashion with consumers. And, Datsun which is performing far below expectations, believes by offering a CVT in the Go hatchback and Go+ MPV, it can get consumers to take a serious look at its products. We have a first drive impression.
The big news of the past fortnight was Mahindra & Mahindra and Ford Motor Co, former partners now engaged in a strategic alliance, coming together to form a joint venture. We have the full details on the JV which aims to achieve speedier collaboration which will result in seven new UVs, synergies through greater economies of scale, use of the latest technologies, a global network and also expansion in emerging markets.
Indian-born Ashwani Gupta has had a meteoric rise at the Renault-Nissan Alliance. He has now been appointed Nissan Motor Co's Chief Operating Officer. . In an exclusive interview, he shares his thoughts on the new role which he takes up from January 2020, what he brings to the table, and on some key industry issues including strengthening ties with partner Renault, whose LCV business Gupta headed earlier.
Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing are as much a global megatrend as are CASE – connected, autonomous, shared, and electrified. The Confederation of Indian Industry recently held a conclave on smart manufacturing at Mahindra & Mahindra’s Nashik plant, India’s first carbon-neutral manufacturing facility. The event saw experts debate how Industry 4.0 can help enhance efficiencies and across-the-board gains in several areas.
We spill the beans on a new AI- and machine learning-based technology developed by an Israeli startup UVeye designed to make external inspection and scanning of cars for damage, dents and scratches a smooth affair. With its three products – Artemis (a tyre inspection system), Helios (an underbody scanner available in stationary and mobile versions) and Atlas (to inspect the top of the vehicle using a 360-degree method) – UVeye says its technology can thoroughly detect anomalies in a car without human intervention. And, the company has also ready started seeing interest from automobile dealers, logistics industry and renal companies in India. And, as Amir Hever, CEO and founder of UVeye, tells Autocar Professional, the return on investment is “pretty immediate”. At this stage, Heyer says, “we are interested in forming strong partnerships with local strategic players in India.”
As vehicles transform into computers on wheels to meet consumer demand for fulltime connectivity, their complexity has also to be addressed when it comes to accident body repair. This calls for rethinking the way auto body repair has to be carried out and the subject was actively discussed by experts at the India edition of AkzoNobel RepairTalks 2019, held in New Delhi on October 1, which has emerged as a leading platform for industry stakeholders to debate and discuss solutions, and also share knowledge and best practices. We also speak to Graham Threlfall, Key Account Manager, AkzoNobel, for his views on the subject.
We have two guest column in this issue. Ashok Belani, Group President & Managing Director of Valeo India, writes on how smart sensors are helping ADAS. And, Dr Chaitanya Giri, Fellow – Space & Ocean Studies, Gateway House, writes on the considerable potential hydrogen has as a fuel for mobility in India.
Stay uptodate with a newsy fortnight
The past fortnight was packed to the gills with news, Indian and global, and we've got it all for you in the October 15 issue. Whether it is the three inventors of the lithium-ion battery who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, Volkswagen Group India merging into Skoda Auto VW India, Tata Nexon confirmed as the first EV to get state-of-the-art Ziptron tech, Minda Industries acquiring Delvis GmbH of Germany, or Nikunj Sanghi being re-elected as ASDC chief, it's all in here.
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